Probably the biggest fear people have of natural stone is it’s maintenance. By following some simple precautions; proper sealing guidelines, using correct cleaning methods and products will insure a lifetime of use from natural stone.
The best care you can give your natural stone is preventative care. Preventing stains or scratches before they happen is far easier than getting rid of them after it happens.
Carefully read the Do’s and Don’ts:
Should always follow manufacturer’s guidelines while using sealers.
Should always use preventative cleaning measures.
Should always wash spills by blotting with mild soapy water.
Should always use coasters, trivets, or mats while putting something on surface.
DO NOT use any hard cleaners that contain acid on any natural stone.
DO NOT not use vinegar, bleach, ammonia, or other general-purpose cleaner.
DO NOT not hesitate to contact stone restoration professional for advice on cleaning, care, and maintenance.
DO NOT use abrasive cleaners and alkaline cleaners not meant for natural stones.
Users are advised to keep a regular maintenance schedule to keep their stone pristine. Proper cleaning guidelines should be followed and special materials meant for stones like stone soap should be used. Thorough cleaning from time to time is recommended to preserve the natural beauty of stone.
The Ten Most common Stone Problems
Frederick M. Hueston
Marble, granite, limestone and other decorative stone are durable materials that will last a life time. However, if not installed correctly or properly cared for, will experience problems that will shorten its life. The following ten problems are the most common in dealing with stone.
1. Loss of shine
The loss of the high polish on certain marble and granite can be attributed to wear. This is especially true of marble, since it is much softer then granite. The bottoms of ones shoe acts like sandpaper on a stone floor surface and over time will wear the polish off. To prevent excessive wear it is important to keep the floor dust mopped, place walk off mats at all entrances. To repair a worn stone surface, it will be necessary to have a professional hone and polish it.
The dull spot created when liquids containing acids are spilled on marble is called etching. Marble and limestone etch very easily. Granite is more acid-resistance and will rarely etch. To prevent etching, avoid using cleaners and chemicals that contain acids. Bathroom cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners and lemon cleaners commonly contain acids. Certain drinks and foods contain acids and will also etch. Light etching can be removed with a little marble polishing powder. Deep etching will require resurfacing of the stone.
All stone surfaces can become stained very easily. Most foods, drinks, ink, oil and rust will stain marble. Once a stone becomes stained, it can be very difficult to remove. To prevent staining clean the spilled material as soon as possible. Blot the spill with a clean paper towel or cloth. If this does not remove the stain then a process called “poulticing” may be needed. To prevent staining, sealing the stone with a good quality penetrating Here to find a proven sealers.
Efflorescence appears as a white powdery residue on the surface of the stone. It is a common condition on new stone installations or when the stone is exposed to a large quanity of water, such as flooding. This powder is a mineral salt from the setting bed. To remove efflorescence do not use water, buff the stone with a clean polishing or #0000 steel wool pad. The stone will continue to effloresce until it is completely dry. This drying process can take several days to as long as one year.
5. Spalling, Flaking & Pitting
If your stone is developing small pits or small pieces of stone are popping off the surface(spalling) then you have a problem. This condition is common on stone exposed to large amounts of water or when deicing salts are used for ice removal. Like efflorescence, mineral salts are the cause for spalling and pitting. Instead of the salts depositing on the surface(efflorescence) they deposit below the surface of the stone, causing pressure within the stone and therefore the stone spalls, flakes or pits. Unfortunately once a stone begins to spall it is almost impossible to repair. It is recommended that the stone be replaced.
There are several reasons why a stone will turn yellow: Embedded dirt and grime can give the stone a yellow, dingy look. Waxes and other coatings can yellow with age. Certain stones will naturally yellow with age. This is caused by oxidation of iron within the stone and especially problematic with white marbles.
If the yellowing is caused by dirt or wax build up, clean the stone with an alkaline cleaner or wax stripper. If the yellowing is the result of aged stone or iron oxidation, live with it, it is not coming out.
7. Uneven Tile-Lippage
Lippage is the term given to tiles that are set unevenly. In other words the edge of one tile is higher then the next. Lippage is the result of a poor installation. If the lippage is higher than the thickness of a nickel, it is considered excessive and the tile will have to be ground to flaten the floor. This will require the services of a professional stone refinishing contractor.
Cracks in stone tiles can be caused by settling, poor installation, excessive vibration, especially if you live in California, etc.
Cracks can sometimes be repaired by filling with a color matched polyester or epoxy. Before a crack is repaired, it is wise to find out how and why the cracked occurred in the first place otherwise it may crack again.
9. White stun Marks
Stun marks appear as white marks on the surface of the stone and are common in certain types of marble. These stuns are the result of tiny explosions inside the crystal of the stone. Pin point pressures placed on the marble cause these marks. Women’s high heels or blunt pointed instruments are common reasons for stun marks.
Stun marks can be difficult to remove. Grinding and/or honing can reduce the number of stuns, but some travel through the entire thickness of the stone.
10. Water Rings/Spots
Water rings and spots are very common on marble table tops. These spots are hard water minerals such as calcium and magnesium. These minerals are left behind when the water evaporates leaving a ring or a spot. To remove these spots use a marble polishing powder. Deep spots may require honing. To prevent spots on counters and table tops, frequently apply a good stone paste wax.
Other Stone Problems
Many problems can occur with stone surfaces. The above ten are the most common. The following is a quick problem solving technique that will help identify other stone problems that might be encountered.
1. Identify the problem- Is it discolored, etched, cracked or what?
2. Cause of the problem- What happened to cause the problem? Identifying the cause will often lead to the solution.
3. Stone Type- Identify the stone type. Is it marble, granite, limestone, slate, etc.?
4. Installation- check the installation, is it installed properly?
5. Age- How long has the problem existed? Old problems are difficult to impossible to cure.
6. Maintenance Procedures- How is the stone being maintained? Could the maintenance or lack of, caused the problem?
7. Test the Solution- Perform a small test in an inconspicuous area to decide if your proposed cure will work effectively.
Restoration of natural stones such as marble, granite, limestone, and travertine requires the removal of scratches and/or etch marks from the surface. Most resurfacing is done mechanically with diamond abrasives. Diamond being the hardest stone.
To acquire a true polished or honed surface, the imperfections must be grinded or sanded to the level of the damage. Depending on the depth of damage reflects on how many steps will be needed for the repair.
Only an experienced specialist could recognize the proper order of diamond grits needed to achieve the desired finish.
Deep stains from acid based drinks, foods, or chemicals may cause an etch to deep for resurfacing alone. Most stains can be removed by using a poultice which requires a longer duration.
For more information on restoration and resurfacing contact our specialist.
Grinding: A very aggressive process using metal-bonded and diamond grit to remove deep scratches and lippage. Usually performed using a heavily weighted floor-buffing machine with water. This process is typically dust free. The goal is to flatten the floor.
Honing: Similar to grinding, but not as aggressive. The grits and materials are not as coarse as those used when grinding. Honing is completed after the grinding phase. However, many restoration and polishing projects are started at this level since honing will remove minor to moderate scratches and etch marks. As with grinding, the end goal is to achieve a flat floor.
Polishing: Completed after the honing phase. Higher grit series and sometimes combinations of grit compounds to simulate higher grits. The stone will start to show a shine during this process and can be brought to a very high shine at this point.
Sealing: The process in which a high-quality protective sealant is applied to the surface of the stone. Whenever stone is ground, honed, or polished, the surface should be sealed immediately to ensure protection from contaminates.
Do a simple water test – place a puddle of water on your tops. The water should try to bead up and not sink into the stone. Let the puddle sit for 5 to 10 minutes then wipe the water off. If the stone has darkened you need to re-apply the sealer. Do this test once a month.
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The Stone Repair Network (SRN) are the leaders of the natural stone community committed to the education of the consumer and fellow members. Through the network of our members, we provide dedication to quality, service and lead the industry with our standards. Our mission is to provide quality natural stone care, restoration and maintenance through a network of qualified natural stone professionals.
Is your natural stone surface damaged or showing its age? Don’t replace it – repair it! For nearly a decade we have restored countertops, sinks, tub surrounds, service bars, and many other surfaces damaged by:
• Cracks / Breaks
• Chips / Holes
• Stains / Discolorations
• Gouges / Scratches
• Dullness from long term wear. WHY Choose A SRN Member?
We understand that your kitchen, bath and work surfaces represent a significant investment in your home or business. We know that you want the repairs to be made quickly and professionally with minimal disruption or mess.
• Specially Trained Techs
Our members specialize in restoring, repairing, and refinishing a wide range of natural stone surfaces, including Granite, Marble, Travertine and many other natural stone products from all over the world. The natural stone restoration specialists of the SRN are highly trained and experienced. All work done by SRN members is guaranteed.
• State-of-the-Art Equipment
SRN members are kept up to date on the latest restoration techniques, the use state-of-the-art tools and use the finest materials for repairs.
• Timely Response
We will follow up on your service requests within 72 hours, provide you with realistic estimates and schedules, and make every effort to work quickly and efficiently. We make the extra effort to be timely and customer-friendly.
When you choose SRN members you can be confident that the technicians will be neat, courteous, professional, and fully qualified to do the job with the full support of the natural stone community. It is our mission to provide quality natural stone care, restoration and maintenance through a network of qualified natural stone professionals. We strive to ensure that you are so satisfied with our restoration work that you will recommend us to others for their natural stone repairs.
We also offer scheduled maintenance programs that keep your Natural stone surfaces looking like new.